Research Article

Bacteriophages and insertion sequences of Chromobacterium violaceum ATCC 12472

Abstract

A fluid genome is a great advantage to prokaryotes, enabling quick adaptation to various types of ecological niches and to diverse environmental selective pressures. A substantial portion of these sudden changes is mediated by lateral gene transfer (LGT), through genetic recombination mechanisms, such as transformation, conjugation and transduction. The recent sequencing of several organisms has offered a new approach to the study of LGT, using comparison and analysis of nucleotide sequences dispersed throughout the genome of these species. This analysis in Choromobacterium violaceum has revealed four prophage and 12 insertion sequences, suggesting genetic exchange with several other bacterial species, including Salmonella enterica, Ralstonia and Xanthomonas. An Rhs (recombination hot spot) element (containing a vgr-like gene) was also observed, the function of which remains unknown, but it has a sequence related to species of Acinetobacter and Sphingomonas. These results support the role of LGT in the acquisition of new traits by C. violaceum.

A fluid genome is a great advantage to prokaryotes, enabling quick adaptation to various types of ecological niches and to diverse environmental selective pressures. A substantial portion of these sudden changes is mediated by lateral gene transfer (LGT), through genetic recombination mechanisms, such as transformation, conjugation and transduction. The recent sequencing of several organisms has offered a new approach to the study of LGT, using comparison and analysis of nucleotide sequences dispersed throughout the genome of these species. This analysis in Choromobacterium violaceum has revealed four prophage and 12 insertion sequences, suggesting genetic exchange with several other bacterial species, including Salmonella enterica, Ralstonia and Xanthomonas. An Rhs (recombination hot spot) element (containing a vgr-like gene) was also observed, the function of which remains unknown, but it has a sequence related to species of Acinetobacter and Sphingomonas. These results support the role of LGT in the acquisition of new traits by C. violaceum.

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